Claudia O'Doherty, The Telescope, Underbelly


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Claudia O'Doherty is hard to resist. Having burst on to the stage with a blast of 90s techno, the petite Australian dynamo doesn't let up, karate-chopping her way through an eccentric hour that is part-storytelling, part-stand-up and part performance art breakdown. If it's whimsy, it's whimsy of the most kick-ass kind.

This is O'Doherty's third Fringe outing and, she tells us, she is sick of stand-up. Trapped for years in comedy cult The Nuthouse, she is now breaking out with a piece of "difficult theatre". This is The Telescope of the title, a show so difficult it will "break couples up and kill the pets of singletons".

So O'Doherty begins to act out her inept fable, playing every part from medieval monk to modern-day New Yoik cop. It's not long though before things start to unravel and she has to fall back on her entertainment roots. The end result is a neurotic variety show of bad advice, strange films and too-intimate confessions all wrapped up in an keen-eyed, self-reflexive satire on the business of comedy.

O'Doherty is a gifted physical performer with a hyperactive imagination. The surreal mix may be too skittish for some but this is a uniquely entertaining hour from one of the oddest and most likeable clowns on this year's Fringe.

To 26 August (0844 545 8252)